Nicole Imprescia, mother of four-year-old Lucia Imprescia, is filing suit against Manhattan’s York Avenue Preschool for not adequately preparing her daughter for a future in Ivy League education. Imprescia is demanding return of $19,000 in tuition, arguing that York Avenue Preschool rescinded on its promise to teach age-specific curriculum by throwing Lucia in with two- and three-year olds and boring her with shapes and colors.
I managed to nab an interview with the child. The following is a transcript of my conversation with Lucia when I visited her on her last day at York Avenue Preschool.
K: Thanks for meeting with me, Lucia. I know this is a difficult time for you.
L: Yeah, school’s hard. You can sit here next to me.
K: I can’t help but notice how tiny this chair is, Lucia. Does it trouble you that you don’t have access to normal-sized chairs in this institution?
L: I like sitting in the red chair the most. It’s like sitting in a fire truck. Look, my feet almost touch the ground!
K: Talk to me about your curriculum, Lucia. I understand your talents are not being adequately catered to.
L: I like to color pictures. Princesses, mostly, but also bears. And castles. And sometimes I’ll draw a crayon, and then color it with a crayon, because then it’s like…a crayon crayon! Also I like blocks.
K: I see. And do you feel like your opportunities have been limited by the fact that you have access only to crayons as opposed to, say, finger paints or scented washable markers?
L: Markers? I like markers, too. There’s a whole box here. Sometimes I’ll open the box and take all the lids and put them on the wrong color marker, because it looks funny. But then my teacher frowns at me and says I should put them back. Also, I like giraffes too. Have you ever seen a real giraffe?
K: Your teacher gets mad at you? For expressing yourself through a creative outlet? Sounds pretty militaristic here, Lucia. Do you worry your limited education is going to hinder your future chances at an Ivy League education?
L: I don’t know what those words mean. Have you ever seen a giraffe? I saw one once, but it was at the zoo. And he was in a cage. It was kind of sad. One time my dog ate a box of crayons and when he pooped, his poop was all colored. Mom was mad at him, but I thought it was funny so I fed him more crayons. He likes them.
K: Have you been working on algebra? Psychoanalytic theory? The history of capitalism? Are you enrolled in any SAT or GRE test prep courses? Is this school doing anything for you?
L: Catipalism? Captal…smism…Capitals? I can write capitals, want to see? Here, watch. I start my name with a big L, and the rest of the letters are small. Did you know I’m left-handed?
K: And they haven’t beat that out of you yet? What kind of backwards school is this?!
L: Do you have a favorite dinosaur? Mine’s the T-rex because he’s big but has funny arms. Here, I’ll show you. Could you please hand me that piece of paper?
K: I can’t believe how poorly this school is run. Putting the construction paper all the way across the table where you can’t reach it…
L: Yep. Can you hand me that piece?
K: I mean, your mom is paying top dollar for your education. The least they could do is hire some poor inner city child to follow you around with a basket of paper and crayons, in case inspiration strikes and you need them on the fly.
L: Yeah. Give me that paper.
K: It’s an abomination, if you ask me. Colors? Shapes? Who do they think you are, Kim Kardashian? For 19 thou a year, you should be a master sushi chef or professional paraglider by now.
L: GIVE ME THAT PIECE OF PAPER.
K: You should be angry, Lucia! Tell the administration how you feel! Demand a better education for wealthy four-year-olds everywhere!
L: Nevermind. You’re stupid. I’m going to play with the trucks.
K: TRUCKS?! What are you, plebeian?! Next thing I suppose they’re going to ask you to pick strawberries and shuck corn!
L: I like corn.
–Katie Sisneros, with inspiration from Caitlin McHugh.